London’s Southbank, an area along the River Thames, is home to a lush new rooftop garden. The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, designed by the Eden Project and landscape architect Jane Knight, is a sprawling flower, herb and vegetable garden complete with a grassy knoll for enjoying the sunshine. Summertime revelers can walk between the rows of plants or grab a beverage from the Garden Café and take in fantastic views of the river and city.
Perched atop the lively Southbank Centre, the nearly 4,000 square foot garden was transformed from the previously vacant sundeck, which was never completed by the building’s architects. Over the course of several months, the Eden Project built the new public park with the help of students, neighbors and youth groups. Committed to community renewal, the company also solicited the help of 50 homeless and ex-prisoners to help not only transform the rooftop, but also give them a chance to transform their lives by giving back to the community. Several of the homeless volunteers went on to gain permanent jobs in horticulture.
Inside the garden, the beds grow an array of fresh vegetables from around the world, to reflect the Festival of the World which is taking place on Southbank throughout the summer. Blue potatoes, narga peppers, and olives are grown on site, as well as traditional British fare. The garden is a glimpse of British gardens and landscapes, complete with a small rosebud walk, herb garden, veggie plots, and even a series of fruit bearing orchards that are situated near the garden café. Rolls of turf thrive for guests to reclined upon, which is overlooked by the wind-power producing A Room for London, which sits on the rooftop.
Day and night, guests can wander the grounds, meet friends, and relax amongst the blooming flower fields and pear trees.